HOUSTON, February 26, 2015 — King & Spalding had a leading role in a significant win early this month in a federal court case in which 88 energy-company defendants – including BP, Chevron, Conoco, Exxon and Shell – had billions of dollars at stake. The dismissal of the suit reinforced the significant procedural barriers for prospective plaintiffs contemplating similar litigation.
In a 49-page opinion, U.S. District Judge Nannette Jolivette Brown, of the Eastern District of Louisiana, dismissed all six of the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East’s claims alleging historical oil and gas drilling and extraction activities have claimed “hundreds of thousands of acres” of coastal wetlands that serve as a natural protective barrier against flooding and destructive weather. The SLFPAE oversees the flood protection network in New Orleans area.
King & Spalding took the lead in the briefings and arguments both in the removal that kept the case in federal court and the dismissal motions that won dismissal of the case.
King & Spalding partner Robert Meadows, who represented Chevron in the case and argued the remand motion and several of the motions to dismiss, said the SLFPAE tried to use alleged violations of federal permits issued by the Corps of Engineers to dredge canals and conduct oil and gas activities in southeast Louisiana as the basis to recover billions of dollars to backfill and revegetate canals the energy-company defendants had contact with.
“Any lawsuit that claims a single industry should be responsible for backfilling and revegetating the coastline of south Louisiana is fundamentally wrong as a matter of law and science. Judge Brown’s dismissal of the levee board’s suit again underscores that the law does not support the claim, and reputable science tells us that coastal land loss is a complex process and the result of numerous factors,” Meadows said.
In addition to Meadows, the King & Spalding team consisted of partners Ashley Parrish and Jeremiah Anderson and associates Andrew Stakelum and Eric Plourde.
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